Moscow, Dec 19 (UNI) A group of Orthodox Christians in northwest Russia have accused Coca-Cola of offending their religious beliefs with advertisements that use distorted images of Orthodox churches, including inverted crosses.
''Coca-Cola uses all these Orthodox symbols in a blasphemous way by placing images of Coca-Cola bottles inside the pictures,'' the group in Nizhny Novgorod region said in a letter of complaint to local prosecutors, the governor and the Archbishop.
''Some church images are deliberately turned upside down, including the crosses,'' it said, adding inverted cross is one of the symbols of ''Satanism.'' The group said the advertising posters in Nizhny Novgorod showed the crosses on the domes of various well-known churches in the city, as well as views of the local Kremlin.
The Orthodox believers want the posters to be removed and Coca-Cola brought to trial for ''inciting religious hatred and undermining national dignity.'' Coca-Cola representatives said the company strictly complied with ethical norms and its ads were an appeal to safeguard cultural monuments.
A spokesman for the bishop's office hailed the believers' letter.
''It is important that such cases arouse reaction from ordinary people as well as priests,'' he told RIA Novosti news agency.